Hello. It's me. I've been wondering if after all two weeks you really want to read my little story. I'll give out five SVD bonus points to any person over 45 who read that opening sentence and said "Hmmm that sounds familiar". I could probably get away with 38 and under but I'm stingy with my fake bonus points.
I had meant to blog at least once a week but something happened last weekend that that got in the way. Life. It does that sometimes. Hopefully someday I can share all the cool things that have happened in the last two weeks, especially the events of Easter weekend but I think tonight I'd like about money.
I should hand out another 5 bonus points for anyone under 45 who can name that tune... but I digress.
First a little house cleaning. Up on the Pure Charity site we have a ticker that was at $35,000 but I just dropped it to $20,000. The truth is we have all of our to date expenses covered, and there are some checks that have come in that aren't reflected in the ticker. Does that means we are all set? Of course not, there are medical expenses and related costs that are sure to come up, we just don't know what they are yet. If you still feel inclined to give, we'll feel inclined to accept and say thank you, but we felt it was time to update you on our status... we are home, we're doing fine, and we didn't have to mortgage the farm to make it happen. (Figure of speech, we don't own a farm).
With that said I'd like to share some money stories and tell you how the money has spoken in our lives. I can assure you that our experiences with money are much different than those spoken about by Young, Johnson, and Young.
If you use Google to define Prosper I really like the "archaic" definition that means to "make successful". I like it because success is not easily defined. Somedays getting out of bed and buckling my pants in the front is success. Other days I somehow manage to navigate putting four kids to bed without lighting anything on fire. So let's just define success as some type of positive result, even if it is as simple as picking up a penny on the ground. It is important to me that this is fairly well defined because I don't want to come across as being someone who is spouting off about the "Prosperity Theology" or anything of that ilk. I know only enough about that to be dangerous, but it seems like the financial equivalent of doing only good deeds to get into heaven, an if I do this then that type deal. That is not what I'm talking about (Willis) because I think that makes this too simple. Nor am I talking about karma, or what goes around comes around, or ____________________ (I figured something new just came out so you can fill it in yourself, like a choose your own adventure or mad lib). Nope, I want to talk about trusting in God. End of story. So with that booooooring setup story telling shall commence.
Since returning home from China with our combustible bundle of joy we've been working to adjust the budget accordingly. This has proven to be just a hair difficult as the pantry was bare when we returned and Joshua's (and everyone else for that matter) had stomachs to match. I think we are entering the phase in parenting where food comes in the back door and magically disappears before making it to the pantry. At least the kids haven't found my ice cream... In the midst of this we had the opportunity to show support for a friend's fundraiser and we were told we could do so at cost. This seems great because we get all the recognition for none of the markup, cost, or joy of giving to a worthy cause. Kristi and I talked it over and decided that even though spending wasn't on the top of the list, we were going to give fully so that we could help support our friends. Total cost of the donation was around $50.00. Not a bank breaker by any means, but certainly worth a few groceries. We chose other's over us and decided that God would prosper (make successful) us if and when needed.
As Kristi wrote the check there were a few things happening elsewhere.
- A friend's mom and dad must have been following along with the blog, or talking with our friend, or somehow keeping in touch with our story. I know for a fact that this family was an early supporter of our adoption, and honestly we haven't had much contact with them since we started the process. That very same day, within an hour or two, they donated again more than covering what we spent to support our friends.
- Later that same day we had a mini-family reunion where Josh was blessed with a fantastic (and if you are reading much different i.e. better version) Paddington Bear storybook and CD. Receiving a welcome gift from family was the furthest thing from my mind that evening but nevertheless it happened. And my thankfulness meter goes up.
- Not to be outdone two other members of my extended family tag-teamed a delectable gift to our local ice cream shop. Actually they just gave us a piece of paper which turned out to taste awful, but on the paper was written that we get ice cream... lots and lots and lots of ice cream. I can't say when this purchase was made, but the fact that the day we sacrificially donate to others we receive a nearly matching gift in ice cream was not lost on me.
- Later that week we also received an unexpected gift in the form of plastic cards that let us get food at a local restaurant without paying cash monies. Those are some of my favorite cards.
We took a small risk and almost immediately had four opportunities to say God, thank you for taking care of us. Fast forward a few nights to Kristi and I sitting on the couch. Opposite couches actually so if you are totally grossed out by romance you can keep reading. Kristi's job situation has changed a little bit so her income is down, especially now as her hours are at a bare minimum. We ended up spending an hour talking about what to do and what changes might need to be made and after all of that was said and done I believe I said something profound like "I don't know honey, I do know God has got this and we just need to trust Him."
I feel the need to interject here that I'm not lounging on the couch in my silk robe sipping on a scotch and griping that my portfolio is down because Trump said the dollar was too strong. I'm genuinely unsure of what comes next and I am at the same time working hard to come up with the answer on my own (how's that for trust). All this to say, we are not expecting a hand out, we've got to do the work. - 5 SVD points for catching that quote...
So, on the couch worried about the future and putting our trust in God while staying up way too late for old people like us. Then came the mail Wednesday afternoon. While we were talking on the couch I'm pretty sure God was sitting back and smiling at us and saying "I've got this". I say that because prior to our late night break down, my Grandfather had put a check in the mail and sent it to us. I don't share this to make light of him, but he has decided to write one check per person each year to cover birthday and Christmas gifts because his eye sight is declining and the process is quite cumbersome for him. However, on Sunday or Monday he felt that helping us financially with our new son was something he could do and he decided to do it regardless of the effort it took him. I'm rambling a bit.... we worried Tuesday but already Grandpa's check was in the mail. Wow.
So what is the point? The point is that for the last 364 days (Brad's sermon that got adoption rolling was 4/24) Kristi and I have had to give things to God and let Him show us the way. Every time we asked God to help us get through tomorrow, He has in his own way. It isn't always money or stuff. In fact I'm sure there are times we completely missed the message in the frenetic pace of life. In our times of need and worry God has given us the strength for today and a hope for tomorrow. I think that is important because that means each day we have to ask again for His blessing, He doesn't want us to get too comfortable and forget to ask after all.
To wrap this up I simply say this. The God we trusted to help us bring our boy home is real. He has provided for us in the good, the bad, and the uncomfortable. If you don't believe that then I hope you can His works someday soon. Until then. Here are some pictures of children because this has been a lot of words with no visuals.